View Report – 6th July 2019

Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2019

Shelsley 6th July


Our second visit to Shelsley this year and one that had looked, earlier in the week, to be heading for a dry meeting.   We had only had one fully dry event this year so far, Pembrey, and, for a variety of reasons not many of us made that event.   After the deluge at Three Sisters (Tony Wallen even took his engine out to clean it after the attack from the paddock grey sludge that we all suffered from) our prayers for a dry meeting were, unfortunately, not answered.

Clive Buffey was on the provisional entry list but he had left it to the last minute to see if his injured hand, from the first Shelsley meeting crash, had recovered sufficiently to enter.  Unfortunately, medical advice and indeed the hand itself did not support a return so he was there in Karen support mode. He also did a fantastic job helping some of us, me particularly, in and out of the more awkward pit garages.

Dick Swindall was in the blue Elan, now just about recovered from the 6 hours wait for the RAC (!!!) to rescue him from just near Three Sisters when the engine in the yellow car tightened up as there was suddenly no oil pressure.   Probably not the moment to discuss the benefits of having a trailer in that situation.   Geoff Stallard was giving his new slicks a first outing and he also wanted to see how the rebuilt engine with the new cams would go.  Not an evaluation that Three Sisters really allowed!   An earth fault deep in the wiring loom had been found by Mick on Sarah Bosworth’s Elise that had prevented the car from running at all at Three Sisters and the car was now back in business.

Although rain was now forecast, in varying degrees depending on which app was consulted the track was fully dry and in reasonable nick for the first run.   There was evidence of a previous oil spill in Bottom Ess but otherwise it was fine.

Three performances are particularly worthy of mention on that first run.  Brian Meddings set a new PB in the 35 of 34.36 and then Tony Wallen beat his already quick PB with a 30.92.  Finally, June set a new 69 PB for her with a 34.29.   Mr Matty was complaining of a misfire.  I think it was this run that Dave Hampton also had a misfire and he found that there was still some of the Three Sisters precipitation in the spark plug wells.

The second runs came around quite quickly and although there were some spits in the air the track was still fine.   Most people in the class improved, only Brian and June being a bit slower.   Chris Westwood was within 3/10ths of his PB and Geoff Stallard was just 6/100ths off his best with a 33.90.   Tony Wallen improved again to another new 30.87 PB.   It seemed like there would be ‘game on’ at the top.  Sarah Thorne also set a new PB with a 34.27.  There was some rain about as we were in the top paddock.

Paul and I sat down to do the handicaps and although it was starting to rain a bit we based things on dry times, quite correctly as it turned out.  Although we were in the last batch in the running order it was dry again as we lined up for the first competitive run.

Steve Millward set a 37.66, 0.66 over.   We had given the Millwards, and both Dick and Pete the same 37.00 handicap.   Karen and Chris were a bit slower than their best practice time but Ian Parmenter improved to 38.74, about a second off his mark.  Dick Swindall then exactly equalled Steve Millward’s time with a 37.66 to end up the same 0.66 over.    Mr Bibby’s 36.94 was just 0.44 over and Botty’s 37.77 was 0.77 over.   My 34.95 was slower than by second practice and one second over handicap.   Must try harder.   Mr Stallard was finding the slicks suited the car well, particularly off the startline, and set a new PB on 33.78.   Steve Hopkins’s 35.31 was a new PB set with  the now much improved car.   Jane just pipped Steve with a 37.60, 0.60 over.

Sarah Bosworth, like many others, finds Shelsley somewhat scary but nevertheless she had dug deep and produced a great time of 32.29 that was 0.26 under her handicap and a new PB.   Neither Keith Wilford nor Stephen Palmer took their 23B’s to an improvement on their second practice.   Brian Meddings also couldn’t improve on his first practice time.    David Gidden in the third 23B also was slower than in practice.

We had set Tony Wallen a 30.50 handicap and from his performances in the morning we were sure that he would attack that time with some vigour.    But, during the run the BDA had started misfiring badly and the 41.46 result at the top of the hill was not quite what he, or we, expected.

In the paddock later with much spannering and head scratching no-one from the large assembled company could come up with a solution and, after such promise, Tony reluctantly had to retire the car.    When Tony got the car home on the Sunday, he found that the cause was a slipped timing belt tooth on the jack shaft pulley resulting in a 15 degree ignition timing error.  The cam timing was still fine.  He is now investigating further in terms of lighter pulleys and/or a different configuration of timing belt used on race BDA’s

Misfiring seemed to be becoming somewhat of a theme as Sarah Thorne was much slower than in the morning.   She wasn’t happy!

Malcolm however, improved on his best of the morning and his 32.09 was 0.59 over.

Dave Hampton, though no longer suffering a misfire (I think) was faster but the 32.49 was not the time he was looking for.    June set her best so far and a new PB with 34.01 and that was the third driver to go 0.66 over.     Paul had definitely sorted the misfire and the improvement to 33.00 was 0.50 over. 

As we were still in the top paddock it started to rain again and this time with a bit more commitment. As we parked up at the bottom it was obvious that our second run was going to be damp at best. Several of us were debating whether it was going to be worth going up a second time, certainly not with any hope of improvement anyway.   In the end all the class did do the final run with the exception of Sarah Bosworth who had, not unreasonably, decided to rest on her laurels.

Not really much to report for this run.   There were a few drivers that were braver than others but most definitely the majority decided on the discretionary approach.

So, the end result was a decisive win for Sarah B with Jonathan Bibby second and Mr Matty in third place.

In race scratch Malcolm pipped Dave Hampton to first place with Paul again in third place.   I think obviously Tony Wallen would have been in first or second place had it not been for the engine problem.

In road scratch unsurprisingly it was Sarah Bosworth first from Geoff Stallard and then me.

So, in the main championship Steve Hopkins is on 47 points, 4 clear of Steve Millward with Jonathan Bibby third on 35.

Race scratch has seen Dave Hampton on 24 points sneak a 1 point lead now from Tony Wallen with Tony Shute third on 19.

Road scratch is very interesting with Steve Hopkins and Sarah Bosworth joint first on 25 points with Geoff Stallard third on 16.

So now nearly 4 weeks to the next meeting at Harewood.     I wonder who might do well there??????????????    Let’s just hope for some dry weather and less misfires.